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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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co-operate with the Red Army without waiting to receive a guarantee
from Russia, hesitated. The decision was taken by the country itself, by
the Underground in Eastern Poland. The people of that country
trusting in the British commitments, decided to meet the entering Russian
forces, for the first time in centuries., not with arms in hand., but with offers
of collaboration in the fight against the common foe Germany,, thus giving
a concrete example of Polish goodwill. The main, ever-present thought
was naturally to re-assert Poland's sovereign rights over her national
territory.
On January 12, 1944, tne Commander of the Home Army issued an
Order of the Day., declaring that:—
"At the moment, when war is passing over Polish territory, the Poles . .
will support the Red Army fighting the retreating Germans, on the scale
of all existing possibilities and to the limits of State interests, according to
the decision of the Government and the orders of the C.-in-C. At the
same time/' the order continued;, "we do not in any case submit to any
political pressure whose object is to subordinate us to foreign aims, and
tend to take from us the freedom to organise our national State and life
according to our own political and social ideals."
On March 19, the Commander of the Polish Home Forces in the
Rowne district, approached the Russian troops then in that region.
Formations of the Home Army had also revealed themselves to the Soviet
forces throughout the Volyn province in Ostrog, Zdoibunov, Witoldow,
Kostopol, MlynoVj Panska Dolina, Luzova, Rozyszcze, Antonovka,
Jurczyn, Zaturce, Przeobraze, and so on. Troops of the Polish Home
Army established contact with the Soviet parachute troops behind the
front line.
Representatives of the Underground Civil Administration approached
the Commanders of the entering Soviet forces and handed them the
following declaration:
"Acting under orders from the Polish Government's Delegate, we meet
the forces of the Soviet Union on Polish soil as our co-belligerents in the
fight against our common enemy—Germany. Poland was the first country
to wage war against her in defence of her own and other nations' independ-
ence, and she has been fighting against her with her allies for over four years.
At the same time, we bring to your knowledge that there is in existence in
these territories an administration, secretly organised by the Polish State
under the yoke of the German occupation. We expect that, in accordance
with international law, the Soviet Army will enable Polish authorities,
during military operations on Polish soil, to assure the social and economic
welfare of her population."
The first information regarding this gesture by the Poles was given
over Moscow radio, but it was shortly followed by the news that Polish
troops had not been welcomed by the advancing Russians. When the
first thirty-five units of the Polish Home Army contacted the Red Army
troops3 the Soviets executed twenty-three of the Commanders of these
units (three were shot and twenty were hung)5 who declared and main-
tainecj their loyalty to the Polish Government and stated they would carry
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